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Posted: May 19th, 2010, 9:31 am
by pvitari
Looks like another winner on the way from Flicker Alley and David Shepard's Film Preservation Associates. They're going to release the 1927 silent Chicago on July 6. Check out that great cover art! (below the press release info)

Press Release

Contact: Jeff Masino, 800 - 936 -1115, [email protected]

Flicker Alley and The Blackhawk Films Collection present Chicago, the original 1927 silent film adaptation of the hit Broadway play.
Chicago makes its home video premiere on Tuesday, July 6th

Los Angeles, CA— Flicker Alley, a specialty supplier of fine silent films and classic cinema programming, in collaboration with The Blackhawk Films Collection, proudly present the world video premiere of Chicago, the original 1927 silent film ,.

Sexy, jazz-loving and dressed to kill, Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver) has a doting, handsome husband in Victor Varconi not to mention a gold-digging affair on the side with Eugene Pallette, who pays and pays, eventually with his life. Put on trial for murder, Roxie secures lawyer Billy Flynn (Robert Edeson), equal part mob “mouthpiece” and publicity agent. When Roxie hits the headlines, the courtroom theatrics begin.

Like the musical Chicago that won the Best Picture Academy Award and five other Oscars in 2002, this original 1927 version descends from a 1926 hit Broadway play by Maurine Watkins. It’s a terrifically entertaining mix of humor and melodrama as well as a pungent critique of trash journalism. Frank Urson signed Chicago as director, although it is substantially the work of Cecil B. DeMille and his A-list technical staff. (DeMille apparently judged it unseemly to take full credit for this cynical and secular story while his religious spectacle The King of Kings was still in theatres!) Chicago is silent filmmaking at its peak, with an outstanding score for this edition by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. The 1927 Chicago was long believed a lost film, but a perfect print survived in Cecil B. DeMille’s private collection. Restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive in 2006, it has since been widely performed to rapturous audiences.

This deluxe 2-DVD set also includes two excellent bonus films: The Golden Twenties (1950), a compilation documentary feature produced by The March of Time from authentic footage of the era; and Oscar-winning Lauren Lazin’s The Flapper Story (1985), in which several self-declared children of the roaring twenties look back across the decades on their youthful lives.

Chicago is mastered in high definition at 25 frames per second directly from Cecil B. DeMille’s original nitrate print, through the courtesy of the DeMille Estate. The Golden Twenties is also mastered in high definition from a 35mm duplicate negative and magnetic sound track, while The Flapper Story is mastered from a composite print by arrangement with producer-director Lauren Lazin. All three films are produced for DVD by David Shepard. Included are a brochure by Thomas Pauly on author Maurine Watkins and the factual background of Chicago, notes by Robert S. Birchard, author of Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood, and a special documentary supplement, Chicago; The Real-Life Roxy Hart by Jeffery Masino and Silas Lesnick.

Chicago is the twelfth DVD title to be released through the partnership of Film Preservation Associates’ Blackhawk Films Collection and Flicker Alley, following Discovering Cinema, Saved From The Flames, Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913), Abel Gance’s La Roue, Perils of the New Land: Films of the Immigrant Experience (1910-1915), Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer, Under Full Sail – Silent Cinema on the High Seas, and Bardelys The Magnificent / Monte Cristo, George Méliès Encore, and The Italian Straw Hat.

Blackhawk Films was founded in 1927 as a producer of film advertising for merchants and as a distributor of regional newsreels. The company made its mark as a nontheatrical distributor with the advent of 16mm sound film in 1933, establishing several regional offices before WWII. In 1947, Blackhawk expanded into sales of used film and soon thereafter began distributing new 8mm and 16mm prints of Laurel & Hardy comedies from Hal Roach Studios as well as titles from such other suppliers such as Fox Movietone, Killiam Shows, and National Telefilm Associates. David Shepard joined Blackhawk as Vice President (1973-1976) and after founding Film Preservation Associates in 1986, acquired the Blackhawk Films library which now comprises some 5,000 titles.

Flicker Alley, LLC was founded in 2002 by Jeff Masino. Each Flicker Alley project is the culmination of hundreds of hours of research, digital restoration, and music production. Flicker Alley has partnered with Turner Classic Movies on several historic cable broadcasts including three previously unavailable silent films produced by Howard Hughes, three rarely seen Rudolph Valentino films and new digital editions of J’Accuse and La Roue, by Abel Gance. The Flicker Alley brand has grown to enjoy national and international critical acclaim and is regularly featured in annual "Best Of" lists. Twice, the company has been honored with the prestigious Il Cinema Ritrovato DVD Award: In 2008 for George Melies - First Wizard of Cinema, and again in 2009 for Douglas Fairbanks - A Modern Musketeer. In 2009, the company was a Heritage Award recipient by the National Society of Film Critics.


Re: Chicago

Posted: May 19th, 2010, 2:17 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I'll keep my eye out for this one, I had no idea it existed, the subject is right up my street.

Re: Chicago

Posted: May 20th, 2010, 9:53 am
by phil noir
This is really exciting news. I can't wait. I've only ever seen Phyllis Haver in a Buster Keaton short (is it The Balloonatic? I can't remember) and as Rod La Rocque's leading lady in The Fighting Eagle. Apparently she's supposed to be very sexy and funny in D. W. Griffith's Battle of the Sexes in a similar sort of gold-digging part.

I read somewhere she got out of her contract with De Mille at the end of the silent era by invoking the Act of God clause - she had landed herself a millionaire husband, and told De Mille that if that wasn't an Act of God, she didn't know what was. Admiring her quick wit, he let her go.

Just one question: if you were married to Victor Varconi, why would you be having an affair with Eugene Pallette on the side?

Re: Chicago

Posted: May 20th, 2010, 12:07 pm
by pvitari
phil noir wrote:If you were married to Victor Varconi, why would you be having an affair with Eugene Pallette on the side?

According to a plot description I read online:

"While cigar stand owner Amos Hart (Victor Varconi) is away, his wife, Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver), will play.

Roxie plays the role of lil’ blonde girl to her sugar daddy, Casley (Eugene Pallette), who has enough money in his bank account to buy sexy Roxie the pretty little things she likes."

It's the money, honey! :)

Re: Chicago

Posted: May 20th, 2010, 2:48 pm
by rudyfan
I loved this when I saw it on the big screen. I'm looking forward to the extras on the set, too. This is a terrific movie and I much prefer it to the musical remake of a few years back.

Re: Chicago

Posted: May 21st, 2010, 6:10 am
by phil noir
pvitari wrote:It's the money, honey! :)

Isn't that always the way!

I enjoyed the musical version, I must say, it's so stylish and cynical. We Both Reached for the Gun is a great sequence. The line that always makes me laugh is when Renee Zellwegger says in her final song, 'We none of us got enough love in our childhoods - and that's showbusiness.'

But maybe I'll revise my opinion post-Phyllis Haver. There's also a sound version with Ginger Rogers, isn't there? Roxie Hart. I saw it years ago, but I have no memory of it.